Talent in the long-term: Motivational development and educational outcomes of high-ability students in primary, secondary and higher education
The overall aim of the doctoral project is to chart the developmental, motivational, and educational trajectories of cognitively gifted students from elementary to higher education, taking a contextual-developmental approach. Further, we aim to identify the role of motivational and social-cognitive factors in gifted students’ underachievement, using a variable- as well as a person-centered approach. The current literature on academic giftedness is in need of long-term longitudinal research on the academic, motivational and psychosocial development of highly able children, recruited from a representative community sample, thus preventing positive or negative sample biases. To fill this gap, the current project includes longitudinal research on a large, representative sample of children followed from elementary school to higher education (SiBO-study) as well as newly gathered data in Grade 7 and 8 of secondary education (Talent-study). Utilizing a contextual-developmental approach, we will also identify factors in student, family and school environment that facilitate optimal development and prevent underachievement. Relying on current talent development models (Gagné, 2004; Snyder & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2013; Subotnik et al., 2011) and more general developmental and motivational theory, we focus on factors in the child (i.e. competence and value beliefs, learning behavior), the school environment (i.e. academic challenge, teacher expectations, peer group), and the home environment (i.e. school involvement, parent expectations) that may positively or negatively affect academic performance. Moreover, in line with Snyder and Linnenbrink-Garcia’s (2013) model, a person-centered developmental approach will be adopted, in addition to a variable-centered approach. This allows to identify different developmental profiles within the gifted group in general and/or the underachieving gifted group in particular. This person-centered approach is important to gain insight in the heterogeneity of developmental pathways among highly able students. Moreover, by linking these distinct individual patterns of development to antecedent factors in child and context, we will be able to contribute to early identification of risk and protective factors for different pathways of underachievement and maladjustment within education.